There is virtually nothing like it amongst utility airplanes. Renown as the aerial workhorse; it is an economical, hardy, high volume aircraft. It is the world’s most popular bush flying aircraft. It can take off and land in the roughest of airstrips. Many pilots and aviation companies describe it as indispensable. It is the most functional aircraft pound for pound.
The Cessna C-208 Caravan first took to the skies in 1982. It is a single turboprop aircraft, with fixed tricycle landing gear, short-haul utility aircraft. The caravan can either be used as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It can seat up to 14 passengers and can haul around 4200 pounds. It has a cruise speed of 185 knots or 213 mph and a range of 1240 miles.
There are several versions of the Caravan. The 208 Caravan I, the Supercargo Master, the Grand Caravan, and the Grand Caravan EX being the most popular. The aircraft can also be configured as an amphibian aircraft and is ideal for island flying. Its interior can also be arranged in different passenger configurations from business to executive.
Cessna Caravan Executive Interior
Capabilities and Challenges
The aircraft has STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) capabilities, which makes it ideal for bush flying. Where pilots have to land on short airstrips. Its fixed tricycle landing gear has been designed for rough airstrips. The Pratt and Whitney Powerplant is well designed for quick takeoff power.
One of the challenges that the aircraft has faced lately has been the FAAs consideration to revoke its ice certification. That is, flights in icy weather conditions. The aircraft has had several incidences with flights in icy conditions. Accidents involved pilots from entry-level new hires to the most experienced pilots. Which means the problem doesn’t entirely lay in the pilots skills. The aircraft has to be upgraded and pilots have to be retrained on ice flying.
The aircraft’s low accident rates and reliability have made it a favorite. The Caravan is used by governments, military, police, air ambulance, charter, freight, and skydivers among many other companies and organizations. Its versatility is a big advantage as compared to other aircraft.